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George Faison

George Faison

Panelist: Ailey

George Faison, DFA, University of Massachusetts and award winning, internationally celebrated producer, writer, essayist, composter, director, choreographer and dancer, made history in 1975 when he became the first African American to win a Tony Award of best choreography for The Wiz! Dr. Faison began his career as a principle dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His Broadway career began with the musical Purlie. After leaving the Ailey Company, he formed his own company, the George Faison Universal Dance Experience and went on to create several American dance classics of his own: Slaves, Suite Otis, Gazelle, and Poppie. He has also choreographed and staged concerts for musical greats including Ashford & Simpson, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Dionne Warwick, Stephanie Mills and many more. Dr. Faison has directed regional productions at the McCarter Theater, Princeton NJ, Center Stage in Baltimore, the Kennedy Center, the Pittsburg Public and the Public Theater in NY. He is also the author of several musicals: Apollo; It Was Just Like Magic which starred Morgan Freeman, Clarice Taylor and S. Epatha Merkerson; Sing Mahalia Sing with Jennifer Holiday; If This Hat Could Talk, based on the life of Dorothy I. Height; and most recently, Bah Humbug From the Notorious E.B. Scrooge based on A Christmas Carol. His film credits include Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Cotton Club, Driving Me Crazy, and the Josephine Baker Story. In 2000, Dr. Faison, along with co-founder Tad Schnugg, established The Faison Firehouse Theater in a decommissioned Firehouse in Harlem which was branded “Hollywood in Harlem” by the media. The Faison Firehouse Theater is a 130 seat venue which “is a full service, digitally advanced performing arts and cultural center complete with a fine arts gallery, rehearsal facilities and a cabaret theater. He is a co-producer/artistic director of the critically acclaimed City-Wide Summerstage Harlem Dance Caravan at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park. In 1999, he created The Firehouse Respect Project, a youth empowerment troupe for community outreach which continues today. Mr. Faison recently co-produced the 10th anniversary gala of The History Makers: An Evening with Valerie Simpson in Honor of Nick Ashford and directed Steppin’ Out of the Negro Caravan at Howard University. His current season will include three premiers of Noa Ain’s multi generational chamber jazz opera, Trio, Bitch, a series of monologues by Datra Martindale and Kim Williams, The Timeless Language of James Baldwin with Avery Books, On Common Ground, men and women facing the facts about domestic violence, Stepping Out of the Negro Caravan, African-American literature and the American Experience and a multimedia installation called Harlem, Virtually Yours!, a tourist attraction. Dr. Faison has recently Directed and choreographed The Wiz 40th Anniversary Celebration a co-production with Summerstage in Central Park. Mr. Faison is currently producing and directing a new musical entitled Whitney Houston: The Last Interview www.faisonfirehouse.org

2021 (23rd) Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival